Nutrition tips during lockdown

Posted on April 15, 2020

While in lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic, there has never been a more important time to consider what you are eating. No one knows how long these virus safety measures will need to stay in place, but one thing is sure: making health and nutrition is priority and people need to consider what they are consuming to help maintain and strengthen their immune system.

However, eating as healthily as possible is important not only for our physical health, but also for our psychological well-being. A healthy diet has been shown to reduce our risk of chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity, as well as depression and anxiety. Be careful that your anxiety, stress or even simply boredom do not lead to “emotional eating”. You don't have to follow a particular diet or have to eliminate absolute everything that is not healthy, just avoid processed foods as they tend to be high in sugar, and rather opt for healthier options. 

To help make sure that you maintain a balanced diet during lockdown, here are a few suggestions on how to make healthy food choices during these challenging times.

1. Plan meals in advance

One of the cornerstones of heathy eating is meal planning. You can make cooking and eating a fun and meaningful part of the family routine. It is best to plan meals a few days or a week in advance and try to involve family members in food preparation. Planning meals will prevent the frustration of deciding every day what to prepare. It will also enable you to go shopping with a shopping list, saving money.

2. Ensure you’re getting a wide range of nutrients

Variety is key to a healthy diet. Avoid omitting any food groups while on lockdown, unless you have a medical reason to do so. The emphasis should be placed on nutrients that support your immune system during this time, including vitamin A, C, and zinc.

3. Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables

Purchasing, storing and cooking fresh vegetables can be challenging during lockdown. Appropriate meal planning can guide shopping for fresh fruit and vegetables. Fruit and vegetables can also be frozen to limit the trips to the grocery store. Use fresh vegetables in dishes such as stews or lasagne that can be frozen for later. Frozen fruits such as bananas and berries can be used for smoothies. Also consider dried or tinned fruit and vegetables.

4. Choose whole-grain

You can easily make your diet a bit healthier by replacing refined starches with whole-grain options, which are higher in fibre, B vitamins and various minerals.

5. Keep healthy snacks around

Keeping healthy and nutritious snacks nearby will ensure that you don’t head straight to the biscuit tin. When planning snacks, pair a protein source with a fruit or a grain, for example an apple and nuts, a whole-wheat cracker with cheese, yoghurt with a banana, whole-wheat bread with peanut butter, or even hummus and carrots.

6. Consume oily fish

Canned oily fish is a really handy item to have in your cupboard while on lockdown. Not only is it an affordable protein source and has a long shelf life, but it is rich in omega-3, which can assist in wellbeing.

7. Make the most of nut butters

Nut butters, e.g. peanut butter, are loaded with good fats and will stand the test of time in the cupboard. Include more good fats into your diet.

8. Hydrate

Drinking an adequate amount of fluid is essential for our health and immune system. Adding fruits or vegetables like lemon, lime, cucumber slices or berries to water is a great way to add an extra twist of flavour.

9. Make set mealtimes – and stick to them

Keep to a set routine of mealtimes. Plan a good breakfast within an hour of waking up, and then plan meals and/or snacks with regular intervals, e.g. three hours apart. Be disciplined and mindful whilst eating. That way, your body will adapt to a routine and hunger pangs will be predictable and easy to handle.

10. Allow yourself to indulge every so often

Remember to indulge every now and then. Not only will this boost your mood and keep your spirits high, but it will prevent you from binging on sweet treats you might have forbidden yourself from eating.

Stay connected with EWP@UP


Kind regards,

The EWP@UP Team

- Author EWP@UP Team

Copyright © University of Pretoria 2024. All rights reserved.

FAQ's Email Us Virtual Campus Share Cookie Preferences